Quebec's labour minister will be meeting with Target leaders in coming weeks to clarify the province's labour laws, in view of the company's takeover of Zellers outlets.

The American retail giant is paying $1.83-billion to acquire leases for 220 Zellers stores across Canada, and plans to convert most of them into Target outlets by 2014.

On Wednesday, Quebec Labour Minister Lise Thériault said she'll outline the province's distinct work rules when she meets with Target management next month.

Under Quebec's Labour Standards Act and the Civil Code, the partial sale of a company does not put an end to employees' contracts.

Target has said that because it only acquired Zellers' leases, it can terminate contracts for current staff when it takes over. Certain employees will then have to reapply to work for Target.

Zellers' union says employees are worried about the takeover, and warn the plan could be illegal in Quebec given its strict labour laws.

Target "can't just come in and cut costs by telling somebody who has 25 years' service that 'I'm not hiring you,'" said Tony Filato, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Canada (Local 500), which represents some Zellers workers in Montreal.

Quebec's labour laws allow terminated employees with more than two years' experience to file a grievance.


  • Initially this story carried a photograph of a store named Target Apparel, which in fact is a Canadian store, and is not owned by Target Corp. in the U.S.
    Oct 10, 2013 12:12 AM ET